Kristoffersen leads Hirscher after 1st slalom run in Madonna

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MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (AP) There were no falling drones to deal with this time but Marcel Hirscher still can't catch Henrik Kristoffersen on the slalom hill.

For the second consecutive slalom race this season, and in a result that matched last year's event on the Canalone Miramonti course, Kristoffersen edged Hirscher on Thursday night.

The Norwegian finished the two runs under the lights 0.33 seconds faster than Hirscher, the five-time defending overall World Cup champion from Austria.

A year ago, Hirscher narrowly escaped getting hit by a camera drone that fell from the sky within inches of his head as he was racing.

''If I think back to last year, I'm just happy that I'm healthy and still a ski racer,'' Hirscher said. ''Last year I needed a lot of luck.''

Drones have since been banned from the ski circuit.

While Hirscher retains a comfortable lead in the overall standings, he's now only 60 points ahead of Kristoffersen in the slalom ranks.

Kristoffersen skipped the opening slalom of the season due to a sponsor conflict with the Norwegian federation.

Sitting second to Kristoffersen after a clean but otherwise unimpressive opening run, Hirscher attacked from start to finish on his second trip down - on the borderline of losing control.

When Kristoffersen then came down and added to his advantage, Hirscher just applauded.

Still, Hirscher was content with his performance.

''I'm super, super happy with my skiing,'' he said. ''I'm in a really good way and I earned a lot of points for the overall World Cup.''

It was the 11th slalom win of Kristoffersen's World Cup career and the 12th overall for the Olympic bronze medalist.

Kristoffersen joined Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark (1979-80 and 1980-81) and Italian great Alberto Tomba (1987-88 and 1988-89) as the only men to win the Campiglio slalom - one of the steepest and most difficult on the circuit - in consecutive years.

''They're huge superstars, the best there has ever been in skiing,'' the 22-year-old Kristoffersen said. ''This is a real slalom hill and to have skied here and won here like legends like Stenmark and Tomba is really special.''

Stefano Gross of Italy finished third, a distant 1.35 seconds behind, and Manfred Moelgg, another Italian, was fourth, 1.45 back.